Expectant mother, 19, faces seven charges of attempted murder in Hamrun car rampage

The 19-year-old woman was remanded in custody on no less than seven attempted murder charges after trying to run down a group of people in Hamrun with her car

Natasha Bugeja (centre) being escorted by police after a court denied her bail
Natasha Bugeja (centre) being escorted by police after a court denied her bail

A 19-year-old expectant mother from Vittoriosa has been remanded in custody on no less than seven attempted murder charges after trying to run over a group of people with her car during a brawl in Hamrun on January 7.

Natasha Bugeja, 19, appeared in the dock before magistrate Joe Mifsud this morning charged with seven counts of attempted murder, causing slight injury to four people, damaging six cars, carrying a knife in public without a licence and breaching the peace. She was also accused of harassing two persons in December and misuse of electronic communications equipment. 

Bugeja, who told the court she is three and a half months pregnant, pleaded not guilty ot the charges. 

Inspector Eliott Magro said police had been called to a family argument where the girl had driven at members of the Pace family not once, but twice. The first attempt at vehicular homicide targeted the victims as pedestrians and the second struck them in their vehicle. 

The police took medical precautions for the safety of the child, said the inspector. The mother was escorted to hospital and released on Thursday. She was granted police bail until her arraignment.

A number of other people are expected to be charged in connection with the incident.

The inspector said RIU needed to be scrambled and a number of police units were required to react to the large-scale incident.

Lawyer Arthur Azzopardi, defence counsel together with lawyer Franco Debono, asked for bail, pointing out that Bugeja had not made any attempt to contact witnesses whilst on police bail. He stressed that he was not using the baby as an excuse, but pointed out that it was likely that the baby would be born whilst its mother was in custody. The court, however, replied that it was the mother's duty to avoid dangerous situations.

The accused is also a government carer for a person who requires extensive cancer treatment, submitted the lawyer. “If she is held under arrest, this person will end up without a carer,” argued Azzopardi. The majority of the incident was captured on CCTV so technically, the witnesses were not even necessary, he said. "There is no fear of interference or absconding."

Inspector Magro said Bugeja was injured in her collision with a parked car. He objected to bail, reminding the court that the accused is charged with attempted murder of seven people, “including two children.” 

The court turned down the woman’s bail request, however instructing the director of prisons to give her all the assistance she required. “You know I have sympathy for cancer sufferers,” said the magistrate, who performs voluntary work with those afflicted by the disease in his spare time, “but the accused should have reflected on this before committing the crime. Her father could take care of her mother at this point,” said the court.

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